Alexa Grazio, Senior
When I tell people that I do yoga, I'm usually met with a confused look and questions like “does that mean you're a tree hugger too?” “are you a vegan?” “do you recycle?” or “are you a hippie?”
Although I have found that many yogi stereotypes prove to be true, I personally do not fall into most of them (with the exception that I frequently recycle and I am a vegetarian-- not vegan). However, you need not be any of those things to practice yoga. Anyone can begin yoga at any stage of life despite age, injury, or illness.
There are many different forms of yoga which don’t require holding complicated, physics-defying positions for extended periods of time. It's easy to get involved with yoga if you’re willing to make the effort.
Conveniently enough for an aspiring yogi, Emmaus brags of two inviting studios, both within walking distance of Emmaus High School: Emmaus Yoga is located at 860 Broad Street, and Living Room Yoga at 1328 Chestnut Street. Both studios offer one-on-one sessions for beginners-- gentle classes with easy stretching that is not too deep. I interviewed Erica and Teri from Emmaus Yoga and Living Room Yoga respectively, and both recommend gentle classes.
At Emmaus Yoga, there are yin and basics classes suggested for beginners as well. Yin yoga holds basic poses for extended periods of time to target ligaments, bones, and joints of the body which are not frequently worked in many exercises or other styles of yoga.
Additionally, there are various levels of Vinyasa and Ashtanga forms of yoga. Vinyasa is the Sanskrit word for "flow" which is a perfect word to describe the class. Vinyasa classes are known for fluid transitions between poses going smoothly from one to another. There is also a large focus on linking poses with your breathing. Ashtanga is similar to vinyasa in that every movement is linked to a breath, however it differs because the practice follows a very specific sequence of asanas, or poses. On the other hand, Living Room Yoga mostly divides its classes upon level, instead of style.
There are also a few exceptional, non-traditional classes like the Yoga for Athletes: Warm class. I strongly encourage athletes who do not believe yoga is purposeful or difficult to give it a try. It helps athletes improve their bodies, especially those who have been injured in a sport.
Another unique highlight is a weekly Buddhist meditation. People of all denominations come together to seek inner halcyon. For those with early out or late arrival, there are a few classes that fit conveniently into those time slots for willing yogis. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can go grab your yoga pants and head to one of the studios because both offer mats and other equipment to use free of charge.
The price to drop-in at Living Room Yoga is $10 and $15 at Emmaus Yoga. If you go to a class and fall in love (like I did), a 10-class card at Living Room Yoga is $90 or $75 for students. At Emmaus Yoga the cost of a ten class card is $110.
Emmaus Yoga and Living Room Yoga are both inviting studios where anyone can come experience yoga. Everyone can practice at their own pace, to their own breathing patterns.
Keep in mind that “comparison is the thief of joy,” stated by Teri, co-owner of and teacher at Living Room Yoga. If you compare your progress to others you will lose personal satisfaction. Focusing on time for yourself and reflection is important to yoga both on and off the mat. If someone in a class you participate in engages in a complicated asana, let it serve as a form of motivation instead of discouragement.
So go forth and free your inner yogi. Your body and mind will be grateful.